Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Conflict in Deadlines and What it Means to You

It recently came to the attention of the government that the deadlines for signing up for health insurance does not match up with the deadlines for the imposition of penalties under the individual mandates.  In other words, a person could sign up for an insurance policy within the open enrollment period but still be subject to a penalty for at least part of 2014.

Here's the schedule:

  • October 1. Open enrollment on exchanges opens.
  • December 15. Deadline for enrolling to be covered by January 1.
  • January 1. First day of coverage.
  • February 15.  According to some experts, the last day to apply for insurance to meet March 31 deadline.
  • March 31. Open enrollment ends.  Deadline for avoiding individual mandate penalty.
  • October 15-December 7, 2014. New open enrollment period.
The problem arises for someone who enrolls after mid-February.  Because of the processing time, it is unlikely that someone who signs up toward the end of the open enrollment period will be insured by the March 31 deadline.  Confusion will reign when people who think they are enrolled but have only applied get hit with the individual mandate penalty, even though they believe they timely purchased insurance.

So what does that mean to you?  If you do not have insurance, sign up sooner rather than later.  Just because you have applied does not mean you are covered.  Also, there's a chance you become sick or get injured before your policy is in place.  So the best thing to do is to apply by December 15, and preferably earlier, to make sure you have coverage come January 1, 2014.

Of course, so long as the insurance exchange websites are not working properly, this might not be possible.  However, don't hesitate to contact an insurance broker in your area for help in signing up even if the website for your state is not working.

Now for some Today's Obamacare headlines:

Rightwing Rants

Leftwing Cheerleading

Hard News

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